Thursday, September 8, 2011

Q&A With Lamar Neagle of the Seattle Sounders

Lamar Neagle has broken onto the scene this season in Major League Soccer. After taking time to develop in the USL-2 with the Charleston Battery, Neagle returned to his home state to play for the Seattle Sounders. This season has become a career year for the winger/forward. We checked in with Lamar to ask about everything from the Open Cup to the locker room antics. Read on and check it out. 

MLS Reserves: You’ve had a stellar season this year since returning to the Sounders. What would you say the success this year is attributed to?

Lamar Neagle: “I think going away for a year helped me a lot. I went down to USL-2 and did well there. I kinda found where I needed to be. In 2009 [with the Sounders] I didn’t play in any games and there was no reserve league. I was just trying to fit in on a team that already had offensive threats. So, it was kind of tough.”

“Going down [to Charleston] and getting some experience along with the Reserve League at the beginning of this year has been huge. I was able to play against other MLS players and having some success in getting goals and assists. My confidence growing was huge for me. Then stepping into regular season games and having some success there helps as well.”

Neagle played with the Charleston Battery

MLS Reserves: You’re essentially playing in your hometown, how much does that help you?

Lamar Neagle: “It helps me a lot… I’m a big family person. I’ve got a humongous family so I have family all over Washington state. It’s nice to be able to visit my family on my day off. To relax and kick back, share a laugh with my grandma and stuff like that. It’s nice to be able to play in front of them too. I finally scored a goal in front of my family, professionally so that was a nice feeling as well.”

MLS Reserves: Does it mean anything special to you to be from the area and see Seattle having such a passionate fanbase?

Lamar Neagle: “Yeah, it’s great. From day one I knew that the Sounders would be pretty big once they got an MLS team but I don’t think anybody thought they would be this big. It’s been crazy…”

MLS Reserves: One thing about the Sounders this year in particular is their success with not only the Open Cup but also the Champions League. What does this team have that makes them so successful in these tournament?

Lamar Neagle: “It definitely comes down to the depth of the team. You know you cant have the same eleven guys play in every game. We have a lot of tournaments to play in this year. If we were playing the exact same eleven guys they’d be worn out quick. It’s nice to have guys that can step in and don’t even skip a beat.”

“We come in and keep on playing the same game. Everybody has their niche on the field and once they get in they know what they have to do. That’s the reason it shows as many guys as we have scoring goals and as many times we have to switch out players, we still have the same basis.”

MLS Reserves: When you’re training, what role does Sigi Schmid have you playing? What is he putting in your brain when you train?

Lamar Neagle: “A lot of times you have to work on your individual stuff. One thing that I feel like I bring is that every time I step on the field I’m trying 100%...staying after and working on my first touch and my passing. I need to work on some things so it’s kind of recognizing that and then him telling me to you know, work harder or work more. It’s kind of a combination of that.”

MLS Reserves: Is there anyone on the team that has taken you under their wing or that you might pay special attention to?

Lamar Neagle: “There are a few guys, some of the guys that play my position that are a little bit older that I can look after and try to mimic…but still bring my style. James Riley, he kinda took me under his wing right from the start in 2009. Just showing me things.. he’s one of the guys who will stay after practice everyday doing work… that’s what I’ve tried to mimic. He’s probably my biggest mentor.”

MLS Reserves: You netted a hat trick against the Columbus Crew. Can you talk about that day now that it’s had time to sink in? How did that feel?

Lamar Neagle: "It was great. Like I said, it was the first time I scored at home. I think I had like 16 people at the game… so it was huge scoring the first goal. When the second one came haha, that’s when you start thinking about that hat trick. It was a huge game for me. I’d scored a couple other goals in the season but having a multi-goal game is huge.”

MLS Reserves: We’ve heard that Kasey Keller is a prankster on the team. I’m curious if he’s played any rookie pranks on you or if you’ve seen any good ones done. All in good fun.

Lamar Neagle: “Haha, nah I haven’t really had a big prank on me. You know, everyone kind of jokes on me because I’m from Federal Way [in Washington]. If I happen to get into it with someone or something they’re like “Watch out! He’s from Federal Way” haha, beyond that there’s not been any pranks on me this year. They’ve definitely gotten some other guys though. They’ll put up some pictures on the computers in the locker room or something like that.”

MLS Reserves: When you look at your locker room, what about it is so special? It seems like this year, more than any other for Seattle, that there is a bond between players. Is that true?

Lamar Neagle: “Yeah definitely. I can have a laugh with Kasey Keller or with one of the young guys like Michael Tetteh. I hang out with a bunch of different groups. There will always be a bunch of different groups on the team but for the most part we’re a pretty big family. Everyone enjoys each other. I think that’s definitely huge.”

“It’s a pleasure being part of it. With so many guys switching in and out of the line-up, it might not be like that… mixed feelings between guys. But you don’t really feel it with these guys.”

MLS Reserves: Looking ahead to the U.S Open Cup Final against Chicago, what’s going through your mind personally?

Lamar Neagle: “Personally, if I happen to be on the field or get on the field I want to do the exact same thing whether it’s a final or not. If it is a final there’s definitely a different feeling. More adrenaline will be rushing…hopefully I can get on and be an offensive threat.”

“It’s huge that we have the homefield advantage. It’s been crazy for us to be at Century Link and hopeful let it be the third one in a row.”

MLS Reserves: Do you guys feel any pressure to win three years in a row?

Lamar Neagle: “You know, I think there is. It’s something that we really want. To get a third would be crazy. Nobody has done it in many years and I think they said no MLS team has ever done it so we definitely want that.”

“Something Sigi says is ‘If you’re the first, nobody can take that away from you.’ We want to be the first MLS team to get a third Open Cup win and maybe next year, go for four.”

MLS Reserves: We cant thank you enough for your time, it’s been a pleasure.

Lamar Neagle: “No problem, take care.”

What really stood out to me about Lamar was how professional and responsive he was for being such a young player. His answers were well thought out and it was clear how much he cared about his performances. Keep an eye on this one folks!

1 comment:

  1. Great interview with a great guy. It's been a pleasure watching Neagle mature in his role with the Sounders. He's easily one of the best 12th men in all of MLS.